Sony NW-ZX100HN review

The noughties meets high-resolution audio. But is it good?

Sony NW-ZX100HN
The noughties meets high-resolution audio.

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Ultimately Sony's NW-ZX100HN left us a little confused.

Don't get us wrong it's a great-sounding device, capable of pumping out some class act audio, especially with a good pair of headphones like Oppo's PM-3s or Beyerdynamic's DT 1770 Pros. But the fact it lacks all the versatility available from Android's operating system has left us wanting.

In today's world, having access to streaming services such as Tidal via WiFi is a fantastic addition for any high end HRA player. And for that reason alone, the fact that Sony's reserved that only for its flagship model leaves the ZX100HN out in the dark without a light.

The overall feel and weight of the device is great. Although whether you like the style will depend entirely on your personal taste, for us it does feel a little old school. And on top of that the screen and response times for some menus can fall a bit flat.

That being said all of Sony's decisions here have created a stunningly efficient portable music player. The fact that you can go 44 hours on a single charge listening to HRA music tracks is phenomenal (75 with standard MP3s). It makes us pine for the days when phones used to last that long.

Sony NW-ZX100HN

We liked

The sound quality here is exceptional, especially for a device at this price point and form factor. The soundscape is broad, the treble strong and the bass powerful - yet not overpowering enough to stifle the mid-range.

The battery life beggars belief and having access to 128GB internal storage with the option for even more via the Micro SD slot being exceptionally well thought out.

We disliked

The on board audio processing features, although they sound interesting in theory, in practice they truly distort how the musicians intended you listen to these tracks. It's the equivalent of taking a photo of Picasso's Le Rêve, then adding an Instagram filter and retouching it in Photoshop.

Yes it might look better by today's standards, but It just shouldn't be done.

The fact it comes with a proprietary micro-USB 2.0 cable is another niggle. Seriously, how hard would it have been to stay with the traditional form factor here?

On top of that the antiquated style of this device, lack of connectivity options, and generally low resolution display just makes it feel a little dated in contrast to some of the competition out there. It's also a little too quiet for our liking as well.


Sony's NW-ZX100HN is a well thought out piece of hardware, yet there's just too many niggles for us to be completely happy with how it's turned out. The sound quality is great, but the overall lack of usability, and streaming capacity really holds it back, keeping it pinned in the last decade.